PM Seeks To Break Up Rogue Movements

Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on authorities to arrest two leaders of the Khmer Serey move­ment living abroad as a first step toward wiping out all guerrilla activity in Cambodia.

“I would like to appeal to the governments of America and France to send Ith Suong and Chhun Yasith back to Cambodia for trial,” Hun Sen said Thurs­day.

Chhun Yasith, commander in chief of the shadowy rebel movement, is reportedly living in the US, and Ith Suong, a Khmer Serey general, lives in France.

The prime minister ordered the ministries of justice and interior to act quickly to negotiate ex­tradition of the two men with the US and French governments.

As part of this nationwide crackdown on guerrilla activity, Hun Sen also ordered authorities to investigate rebel Lao and Vietnamese groups he said are operating on Cambodia’s borders with the two countries.

“[There can be] no forgiveness for illegal acts on Cambodian territory. Only the government of Cambodia has the right to arm soldiers.

“[There can be] no Khmer Rouge and no Khmer Bleu,” Hun Sen said, referring to the two rebel movements that fought a devastating civil war in Cambodia in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

A government intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the government plans to issue warrants for several more Khmer Serey members living abroad. Among them are “some RCAF officers” and Nguon Soeur, former president of the Khmer Citizen Party and an ally of the CPP during the 1997 factional fighting.

After the 1998 elections, when he was sacked as director of the Interior Ministry’s Drug Depart­ment, Nguon Soeur sought revenge against the government by going to France and the US to find assistance for Khmer Serey, the intelligence official alleged.

Khmer Serey, or Free Khmer, has vague royalist ties and has been associated in the past with Fun­cinpec. The government has repeatedly dismissed the group as bandits operating in Cambo­dia’s remote eastern jungles.

Human rights groups last week alleged that soldiers in Kratie province killed at least six Khmer Serey members in May.

Army officials said soldiers killed seven bandits in a firefight earlier this year. The dead men, the officials said, were robbing people along the road from Snuol to Kratie town.

Hun Sen on Thursday accused the rights workers of protecting “criminal offenders who have killed people.”



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